The Pink Flower Skirt...

Thursday, February 12, 2009 Jonette 2 Comments

...where Jonette tries her hand at complex pleating and yards of fabric.

Hallo, everyone. Do you still remember my grandma date at Atang? I'd wanted to make a pretty skirt in honor of the play to wear it to. For such events, it's nice to dress accordingly, the way a lady would. It would be the propah thing to do.

The goal was to make a very feminine pleated skirt from the fabric pictured above -- the kind that grants wishes and makes you happy when you twirl around in it. :)

The night before, I started at seven o' clock in the evening cutting up the fabric right down the middle, and attached the two long rectangles together. (with about two yards at sixty-inches width and pretty embroidery down both sides, this made things a whole lot easier.)

After giving all the raw sides a proper hemming (and diner at nine o' clock), next came the pleating. (Why the time lapse, you ask? If your man don't wanna wake up, you don't hafta wake him up -- until after every fifteen minutes, at least.)

Ah yes, pleating. When working with so much cloth, pleats can bee quite a conundrum. when you start something from scratch. (Read: No instructions. Whatsoever. ) I settled down to box-pleating the skirt beside James, who in turn settled down to bash up goons and level up on the PS2. He has this quirky way of keeping me company, entertaining me and helping me de-stress at the same time, and I'm thankful for that. When I was sweating over how big the pleats should go or how the folds should work and getting dismayed over how the geometry doesn't work the way I'd planned, he'd ask me to "help" him out on two-player mode and beat up mooks and Giant Mooks

He stayed with me all night, giving constructive criticism when I asked, cheering me on, never letting me quit on myself. That's love for you.

Twelve Midnight. I finally decided on a half-over adaptation of the box pleat. (What do I mean? I made a boxpleat, then added a small knife pleat to fit right under the last fold. Repeat for the rest of the skirt.) What I liked so much about it is its ability to hide so much extra cloth under ordinary-seeming pleats. (Twirling is happiness!)

The front of the skirt...

And the back of it. 
I realize I look like a plump-bottomed two-legged giraffe in this one. Strange.

I'm very, very pleased with the result. (I'd better -- I finished everything, slip and all, from 7pm to 5am!) I think I may still need to work on the skirt's waistline, though For some reason, it constantly widens through the day. Hmm... If small hook-and-eye attachments won't work, then I bet the large types will. Oh, and add more pleats. . :)
The twirl! 

Mmmm. Must make more skirts like this...


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)

Inspiration: Project Runway

Thursday, February 05, 2009 Jonette 0 Comments

Mary Cruz, a lovely co-worker and co-sewing enthusiast of mine lent me her DVD of Project Runway's 2nd season. I really haven't had the opportunity to watch this series -- ever. (Yes, I have been hiding under rocks from the TV world. Oh wait, TV... what's that?)

I've so far managed to marathon the first five episodes, and I am amazed.

Watching the designers flesh out their ideas with all the material, tools, and time they'd been given, it occurred to me how strangely similar the creative process was to other aspects of art, like say, Theater or Painting. First off, as one of Theater teachers once told us, you need a germ for your idea. Once you have it, you let it grow, see where it will take you. From there, start fleshing it out, decide if you like what you see and what's come of it, making adjustments and pruning where needed. After all that, polish everything off, and let the magic happen.

In Fashion Design, you use the elements of Art -- line, texture, color, value, shape, form, and space -- to realize your idea in tangible fabric. Your idea, your expression. Who you are. Same goes for the other art forms, using their appropriate media.

(I also thought if my body shape was limiting my imagination in design by sticking to styles and shapes that were appropriate for me. This next brought about the idea of designing for practicality versus designing for self-expression, but I think this warrants its own post for another time.)

I guess it took me all that realization for me to see Fashion Design and Clothes-making as an Art form. (Good grief, imagine! Just now!) This realization alarmed me. If so, what have I been doing all this time? Mimicry? Imitation?

Yikes. Not a very brilliant place to start.

Then again, now that I think about it, we all have to start somewhere. We're not born perfect, nor are we born geniuses. Genius is made bit by bit. Even Mozart had to learn by picking away at thirds (perhaps with sticky fingers) and watching his sister learn the keyboard when he was a kid. (It's true!)

I can sew and hem and pleat, and I know at least enough not to sew my fingers in. My creations so far could still use much study, imagination, and improvement. I still need to polish my skill. I'm not that good, but I'm getting there.

Watching Project Runway has made the idea of cutting up my own clothing and reinventing them a lot less scary and a little more exciting. (I had a lot of "I didn't know you could do that!" moments.) Maybe a shirt at a time, or two shirts into one, as an idea's playing in my head right now. I'll let the germ grow first, then we'll see what happens.

This is getting a whole lot more exciting than I'd ever imagined.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)